Letcher serves well in Ballina

Young hopefuls Ballinas Don Denning (left) and Lismores Jeff Hurst before winning the A grade mens doubles in Ballina on Sunday.

Alice Springs tennis coach Chris Letcher out served his South African-born opponent, Ciaran Moore, in the gripping final of the Ballina Bowling and Recreation Club New Year Tennis Open to secure the title on Sunday.

Both players began the game in emphatic fashion, holding their serve to love for the first four games, and it wasnt until Moores serve started to fail him in the the seventh game that things went pear-shaped for the South African. A number of double faults followed as Letcher went on the attack, capturing the first set 6-3. Moore came out in the second set a changed man, returning serve with aggression and breaking Letcher twice to run away with the set 6-2. The final set went with serve until the eighth game when Moores serve again went west as he offered up a few untimely double faults. Letcher, regular foot faulting aside, hammered home many more aces than his opponent throughout the match and finally sealed the win 6-4 in the last set.

Meanwhile, on court five, womens No 1 seed Bianca Smith from the Gold Coast ruined the Letcher family act by defeating Chriss sister Sophie 3-6, 6-1, 6-0 to take out the title. Smith over-hit the ball during the first set but took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second and ruthlessly finished off Letcher in the last.

Of the local players, Lismores Jeff Hurst and Ballinas Don Denning won the A grade doubles final. Pocket rocket Stella McWilliams dominated the Under 14 division and Ellie Wray made it through to the semi-final of the Womens Open Division. Lennox Heads Madeline Ilic also performed well, making it into the finals of the mixed doubles.

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